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Dec 16, 2013
London for cooks - Blog - Viajante

Viajante


Last Saturday I treated myself to one of the best restaurants in London: Viajante. The restaurant never failed get a :"Wow! It was so tasty!" from me after each meal I went to there.

The first time I went, I made a mistake: after reading quite a negative review in the Guardian about it I decided to play safe and only go for 9 dish tasting menu. The restaurant only serves 6, 9 and 12 course menus. I realised I made a mistake after the amuse bouche and booked the second 12 course menu visit straight away.

The tasting menu is composed of 12 dishes packed with flavour and wit. The portions are small, but are so concentrated in flavour, that you are left relishing the taste a long time after the plate has been cleared away. Smell, taste, watch! In front of you a well-orchestrated kitchen theatre piece is developing. The chef: Nuno Mendes himself, is quitely and inconspicuously conducting the happening: checking on his huge list, that all the numerous intricate pieces of each dish appear on the plates in time, quality and quantity required from them to completely flabbergast you. It seems that the whole cooking process is effortless, however don't believe it: each dish is a showcase of high skill and complicated technique: all of it is serving the only purpose to induce the taste you will remember after the meal. The chefs so wonderfully make all the different parts of the dish sing perfectly unisono. And you never get a feeling that you are taking part in a weird kitchen experiment - each dish is a tasty plate of Food.

The tasting menu in Viajante always excites me to try and recreate parts of it and use some methods and ideas or even just products in my everyday cooking. Some of the recipies can be found online. But it is also worth talking to the waiters: all of them had the patience and and knowledge to be able to answer my endless questions, telling me  about the way they cut razor clams for the razor clam ramen and clam sauce dish - apparently razor clams are first stretched, then frozen, then defrosted and thinly sliced to make phasta, they know about all the herbs (purple shizo and scurvy are to name a few, I discovered this time) and methods (reducing lactose to produce a caramel for the dried scallop dish) or let you know where they source Iberico pluma. Even the waiters who came to just clear the plates and who had not seen the dishes I had, could answer all the questions.

This time after the meal I tried the quails eggs sous vided in soy sauce at home straight away-surprisingly easy and flavoursome addition to a breakfast. Dehydrated and rehydrated scallops were a texture discovery and are on the things to try list. As well as figs macerated in red cabbage for the Fig zabaglione. You'll probably see some of the ideas from the menu on the blog in the future.

 


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